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HarryBizzle
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Rather than bump an ancient topic, I thought I’d create a new one. This thread is for all things tea. I’m not much of a tea drinker, myself - I’m much more into coffee. But my wife loves her tea - particularly chai, which she has most days with her breakfast.

 

We’ve tried various tea bags and most seem a bit rubbish except for Clipper teabags, and I was thinking it might be worth trying loose leaf instead. Does anyone use loose leaf and have any recommendations on how to get started? Presumably I just need some leaves and one of those round strainer thingies, rather than going full specialty coffee and weighing water and tea leaves, timing it, etc?

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I used a tea infuser when I tried drinking different oddball green tea blends a few years ago. Seemed to work well, but never tried it with a chai, or loose leaf regular stuff, but apparently they work. Something like this.

 

I think for ideal tea (on a personal level), you just leave it in to taste, don't you? On the rare occasion I make a regular brew I'll give it a good 6 or 7 minutes. I want it to slap me in the face (apparently it's good to leave it this long for the antioxidants from the last thing I read on the matter).

 

Edit: If you find a decent punchy Chai, I'd like to know. The idea sounds great, but everything I've tried has been piss-weak, and under-whelming. Maybe it's meant to be like that, and I'm a heathen, but if there's something properly feisty available, I'd probably be up for that.

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2 hours ago, MarkN said:

I used a tea infuser when I tried drinking different oddball green tea blends a few years ago. Seemed to work well, but never tried it with a chai, or loose leaf regular stuff, but apparently they work. Something like this.

 

I think for ideal tea (on a personal level), you just leave it in to taste, don't you? On the rare occasion I make a regular brew I'll give it a good 6 or 7 minutes. I want it to slap me in the face (apparently it's good to leave it this long for the antioxidants from the last thing I read on the matter).

 

Edit: If you find a decent punchy Chai, I'd like to know. The idea sounds great, but everything I've tried has been piss-weak, and under-whelming. Maybe it's meant to be like that, and I'm a heathen, but if there's something properly feisty available, I'd probably be up for that.

 

Thanks for that. That infuser is what I'm looking for.

 

I found this website which looks fancy, and thought I'd buy some of their most popular blend and some Assam and see which works better for chai.

 

And by punchy chai, do you mean the strength of tea or spiciness? We're not a huge fan of masala chai, really. We usually just make straight chai with milk, water and tea and that's it. We'll sometimes add a few cardamoms but that's about it.

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Do any of you have a Ringtons man? Drives a black van and exits it with a rattan basket to deliver your chosen teas and biscuits to the door or is Ringtons just a Newcastle company?

 

Anyway, we don't get deliveries from him but a neighbour does. However, I got a Ringtons hamper at Christmas as a thank you from the NHS for being a covid hero, it had wonderful biscuits in it and a shitload of very nice teabags and loose tea. I've experimented a bit and found that a brew made with an Earl Grey (hero of Newcastle) teabag and a strong builders teabag makes a wonderful cuppa.

 

Try it if you get the chance. 

 

 

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Finum Brewing Basket L Permanent Filter, black, Large https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000J3JFJU/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i_2Q0QN16P9CHXVWS2BME1

 

 

I just use a Finum brew basket. Cheap, easy to clean out and works fine with fruity or floral teas. Those little infuser ball things aren't great with tea blends that swell up a lot during brewing. At least that's what I was told by a tea blender once. They were selling Christmas gift sets at the time and could easily have gotten away with selling a mug like me some sort of expensive la de da infuser but didn't so I'm inclined to think they were telling the truth. 

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20 hours ago, HarryBizzle said:

And by punchy chai, do you mean the strength of tea or spiciness? We're not a huge fan of masala chai, really. We usually just make straight chai with milk, water and tea and that's it. We'll sometimes add a few cardamoms but that's about it.

Probably more the spice, I think. Everything I've had has been pretty insipid. Hmmm - your mentioning adding a few cardamoms makes me think maybe I should give it a go myself. Sounds like a fun thing to experiment with, and I think I've got everything I need to get started. Will maybe have a play tomorrow sometime...

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I honestly wonder whether masala chai is more popular in the west. Out of all my Indian and Pakistani family and friends/acquaintances, I have never met a person who drinks masala chai, just plain chai. Even the cardamoms was something I picked up from a Yemeni friend. 

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On 25/04/2022 at 18:47, bear said:

Finum Brewing Basket L Permanent Filter, black, Large https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000J3JFJU/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i_2Q0QN16P9CHXVWS2BME1

 

 

I just use a Finum brew basket. Cheap, easy to clean out and works fine with fruity or floral teas. Those little infuser ball things aren't great with tea blends that swell up a lot during brewing. At least that's what I was told by a tea blender once. They were selling Christmas gift sets at the time and could easily have gotten away with selling a mug like me some sort of expensive la de da infuser but didn't so I'm inclined to think they were telling the truth. 

 

I’ve gone for something similar from Good and Proper Tea:

 

image.thumb.jpeg.572dcc5c445d0d95d885b8d6614ecdbd.jpeg

 

I’m hoping it’ll double as both a way to make a normal cuppa and an easy way to get the leaves out when pouring chai from a pan into a mug. Also have about 4 different kinds of posh tea (2x breakfast teas, Assam and Ceylon) and am looking forward to seeing what they’re like.

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Loose leaf black tea is my favourite kind of tea, cafes serving loose leaf tea move straight to the top half of the cafe league.

 

Drury is a popular brand in the cafes I've been to and it's very good stuff. But it's getting difficult to find cafes who use loose leaf tea now, there aren't any locally to me sadly.

 

Tea bags are bland in comparison.

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I get loose leaf Yorkshire tea and brew it in an Aeropress (inverted method with a metal filter). That's easy enough and is good for my taste but I'm no tea afficionado.

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So my wife has been trying all the different teas and reports that they do have more taste, but hasn't quite found the perfect recipe yet. She used the Assam yesterday and said it came out a bit bitter. They recommend 3 mins brew time but it's a bit different given with chai you basically start cold and wait for it to get to temp. I dunno if adding the leaves later might be an idea.


I'm trying some of the Brockley breakfast tea - black with half a teaspoon of sugar and it seems ok. I'm not a huge tea drinker. I tried it without any sugar and it was pretty bland. 

 

I'm not exactly enamored with the brew basket, though. Seems impossible to get it clean without running water through it, which results in leaves going down the sink. This is what it looks like after trying to knock it clean into our food bin:

 

AGCHSBd.jpg
 

Bit worried that the convenience of teabags may cause us to revert to them in the long term. 

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I've accidentally become slightly addicted to this:

 

61VZeBvAGDL._AC_SL1000_.thumb.jpg.3510a443f3e65fa5603831e035e83aab.jpg

 

It really shouldn't work, but it's balanced just about right. Not sure I fancy trying the jam and toast one though, that's seems a step too far...

 

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I think they have one that tastes like jam on toast, or something. I can't actually remember if it was me who tried it or a colleague who told me about it but I think they're surprisingly good.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 03/05/2022 at 12:16, HarryBizzle said:

So my wife has been trying all the different teas and reports that they do have more taste, but hasn't quite found the perfect recipe yet. She used the Assam yesterday and said it came out a bit bitter. They recommend 3 mins brew time but it's a bit different given with chai you basically start cold and wait for it to get to temp. I dunno if adding the leaves later might be an idea.


I'm trying some of the Brockley breakfast tea - black with half a teaspoon of sugar and it seems ok. I'm not a huge tea drinker. I tried it without any sugar and it was pretty bland. 

 

I'm not exactly enamored with the brew basket, though. Seems impossible to get it clean without running water through it, which results in leaves going down the sink. This is what it looks like after trying to knock it clean into our food bin:

 

AGCHSBd.jpg
 

Bit worried that the convenience of teabags may cause us to revert to them in the long term. 

Found that different teas need brewing at different temperatures in particular green tea. Got a kettle a fair while back that allows it to heat to different temperatures which is fantastic generally most none teabag tea I brew at 90, green at 70. Tea bag tea (black) at the full 100. 

 

EDIT: Kettle is one of these! Still make the same one in the same spec! https://amzn.eu/d/1XdkB3Z

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On 10/05/2022 at 12:55, Fondue said:

I've accidentally become slightly addicted to this:

 

61VZeBvAGDL._AC_SL1000_.thumb.jpg.3510a443f3e65fa5603831e035e83aab.jpg

 

It really shouldn't work, but it's balanced just about right. Not sure I fancy trying the jam and toast one though, that's seems a step too far...

 

Might have to give this a try at some point. Guessing they add sugar in there somewhere to get the biscuity flavour.

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3 hours ago, MattyP said:

Might have to give this a try at some point. Guessing they add sugar in there somewhere to get the biscuity flavour.

It doesn't, apparently - just 'natural flavourings' (Tesco says 2 calories!)

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  • 1 month later...

I'll make a pot of tea occasionally. Rather like an Irish breakfast tea which I get from Char in Winchester. Quite a strong brew with a slightly malty flavour.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 24/04/2022 at 19:53, HarryBizzle said:

Rather than bump an ancient topic, I thought I’d create a new one. This thread is for all things tea. I’m not much of a tea drinker, myself - I’m much more into coffee. But my wife loves her tea - particularly chai, which she has most days with her breakfast.

 

We’ve tried various tea bags and most seem a bit rubbish except for Clipper teabags, and I was thinking it might be worth trying loose leaf instead. Does anyone use loose leaf and have any recommendations on how to get started? Presumably I just need some leaves and one of those round strainer thingies, rather than going full specialty coffee and weighing water and tea leaves, timing it, etc?


Clipper are definitely the best of the ‘big’ tea brands, but for teabags you find in supermarkets I don’t think you can beat Dragonfly for taste and value - eg they are pricier than Clipper, but cheaper than Teapigs.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 25/07/2022 at 16:02, HarryBizzle said:

Will give them a go. We’ve gone to Clipper and essentially given up on loose leaf. 


We tend to buy Clipper for green tea and Earl grey, and Dragonfly for everything else (peppermint, jasmine, etc).

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Surprised to see a mention of Char of Winchester. They aren't cheap but are easily the best tea company I've ever found. Been using them for years. Discovered them as a teenager, ended up working only a few doors down from their shop a few years ago which turned me into a fanboy of theirs as opposed to an occasional customer. Moved away and still order it online.

 

Top picks from Char being:

Himalayan Gold & Honey - this is their ultimate best tea. The owner raves about it and for good reason, won an award for being the world's best tea in 2015. Delicate, complex sweetness. Best drunk black.

 

Assam Halmari Gold - this is my fave. Love a strong Assam and this is their best. Malty, deep, strong without being overly tannin or dark. Is served in some of the best hotels in India.

 

Most of their other teas are very good. Their peppermint tea bags are the best I've had. Only criticism is that some of their bagged black teas aren't cut fine enough, the bags are overstuffed and then you end up with a weak brew.

 

..

 

Outside of Char agree with the other comments. Clipper is the best general tea (their loose leaf earl grey is great also). Dragonfly tea specialises in mostly Green and White tea, are more on the unusual side but the quality is exceptional and they are v.authentic.

 

 

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